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The Deaf "compete."

The Deaf "compete." image
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"No, if s no use. Looks as though a whole menagerie, besides thc clephant, liad walked over it, don't it, Jim?" Chris Travers held out a very flat portc-iuoiiua'ie in one hand, pushin back his yellow hair, with a perplexed and trouMed movemunt with the other onCj looking muantime at black-eyed Jim, who had seated himself on the edgo ! of a table, in a sohool-boy's free and easy way. Chris picked up the telegram which he had dropped, and rcad it over: " Mother Warner, Ncllic, and I coming homo the day before Thanksgiving. Piense open and air the house. M.ulhk." " Aud that's Wednesday, und this is I Monday. Oh, won' t Maudie feel awful when she reads this?" And Jim drew ' his fiuger througli the thick dust on the table. " "And that?" said Chris, pointing to a líttlc heap of dust and burned matches in the corner. "Looks awful, that's a faet. Maybe we conld get Bridget Mulloy and her sister to come and clean il all up, for I know Maudie won't be in the house two minutes before she will bo up to her eyes in soap and water. But then, Maudie could not afford to pay for it, and here's this flat pocket-book." The two boys sat down to think out the problem. Sister Maudie had been a widow three years notv. Her young brothers had come from tho old homestead among the hills, to make their home with her and attend the school in the town. Maudie had been called away to her sister-in-la w'ssick bed twomonths ago, and the boys were left in charge of the little cottage, taking their meals at a boarding-house not far away. Anj body who has seen a house leftto the care of men might guess how it looked. The window-panes that used to shine so clearly were dim and grimy. Dust laid thickly on the books, behind the doors, on the banisters, and on the oil-eloth in the hall. It looked Mrell enough to the lads until they came to see it with their sister's eyes, then all at once they feit its desolation. So they sat quite still until Jim juniped off the table, and snatching an apron of Maudie's from a nail, tied it about him and saluted Chris. "An' is it Bridget Mulloy ye'd be wan tin'? She'd ruin ye wid her two dollars a day. Me mother's daughter will do for ye far better - take all that frescoatin' oft the windys and make the dust liy quite penniscup." Chris lookel up with a bright gleam of approval at sturdy Jim, aud said, slowly: 'I "wonder if we couldn't, after school bours? 'Tis women's worK, 1 know; lmt I hate to see Maudie do it all, and her poor little purse isn't much fatter than this." "She's such a jolly little sister, too; don't cry and fret when we are around, though she feels awful bad, and lonesome sometimes about her husband dying and leaving her alone." "We must try and take good care of her, mu.stn't we? Let's clean house ourselves." "We used to help mother forfun?" "Guess we better sweep after dark, else the neighbors will thiuk, the dust is the smoke of a lire, won't they?" "And then the dishes. We ve left that closet door open, and they have all got to be washed, The beds raust be, left to air, as Nellie might feel faint and want to lie down as soon as comes, and Grandma Warner will want her cup of tea - she always does, you remember. The neighbors need not know. You can be Bridget, and I'll be Mary Flynn, for all they can teil, and we'IÏ just go to work to-morrow in earnest: aniïif your courage gives out, we' 11 just remember how Maudie took care of us when we had the fever, and ran up and df wu until her little fect ached. Good luck to ye, Biddy Mulloy! Now for school, and afterward There were signs of life in tho lihted Windows of Maudie's cottage that Tuesday night. Inside, a fire reddened the kitchen range and danced on the walls: was a wholesome smell of warm suds here and there, especially in the back parlor, where a soap carnival was in progress. A very stout, broad-backed Milesian, wearing a calicó wrapper tied down by a check apron, and a calicó hood set on at a reckless anglé; was mounted on the step-ladder in front of the china closet, restoring to the washed shelves their shining stores, as they were handcd up by an assistantelad in a balmoral and faded gray polonaise, topped by a sun bonnet with half a cape. Apparently the two work-women were enjoying themselves, as there was a great deal of hoarse, loud laughter, and an unusual richness of brogue, as they commented on their work and on eaeh other, oajline each other Bridget Mulloy and Mary Flynn, respee.tively, whistling sometimes "and laughing always. In the milst of their fun, or work, a sharp ring at the door-bell made the talier of the two drop a píate from her - no. his- hand, for when the broadbaeked figure turned about there was Chris's merry. laughing face inside the shabby hood. "Who's that? You go, Jim; you can talk Bridget. Maybe it's some girls who wouid make fun if they knew us." "Oh, what'll I do with me mustach. Mrs. Flynn?" " You've got the toothache; here, tie up your jaw with this duster4" Chris presented a very remarkable toaré, truly, with the "addition of a gingham duster tied over the jaw in the most [innatural manner - nothing but a rampant eve-tpoth covdd hare accounted for such a state of thimrs. He went to the door with a "elump" which he eonsidered an essential part of his character, and opening the door, saluted the appiioant with: "Wlmt's our will. sir?" An dld gentleman was waiiing, who asked "if Mr. Warner were at home?" holding lus hand up to his ear afler the marnier of deaf people, to catch Chris' grulï ïvply. He soemed very much disuppointed, nnñ ;t t"ok :i gn-a'. deal of Milesian exulanation. wnich taxed Chris' Milenta hardly, particnlarly as he knew Jim was barsting with laughter at hi.s efforts. The old gentleman bad a kindly face, and Chris, rearing that hu rnight boone of Maudie's frionas, asked him if he would leavo a card or note. It look a jood deal oL shouting to make him onderstand, but at last he did so, and gladly accepted the offey. With a clump and a swagger, Chris foraged about until ho found pen, ink and paper, which he laid on the table, and the old gentleman said: "Thantcyou, my good woman," and sat down by the light to write. He seemed to make quite a letter, as he (fas a long time about it. Meantime the boys were set quite at their ease by his infirmity, and went on with their chat, as they wiped and polished and set in order the newly1 washed dishes. "That's an old 'compete,' I bet you," said Jim, pointing over his shoul: der with a soup-ladle at the stranger. "What'sa 'compete,' I should like to know?" " Why, one of those old fellows who come walking into a city with tive cents in i hoir pockels and by-and-by get to be as rich as mud. Tliev stamt and teeter on their rich old toes, and talk j about "a competency." So 1 take it, if a man has a competency he's a 'compete,' isn't he?" " What would you do if yon were a 'compete?" ' "Do? Well, I wouldn't do this, any way," and Chris wiped a diflh a little spitefully. "'Cause it's womcn's work, but then we are doing it tor Maudie, and whea we've got no money we eau give her loving service, can't we?" " Maybe he's an unele, like the úneles in books, who has come back to right everything wrong." " Where would we get an uncle, I'd ! like to know, when we never had one to begin with?" "Well, s'pose he was a story-book uncle, what would he teil us to do for Maudie?' " Well, we would have a red chair for Maudie there, and a new carpet here, and a pot of llowers over there in i the window, and V's and X's in her 1 porte-monnaie. Oh! wouldn't that be grand?'' " Look out, Jim; maybe he's after the spoons. Set the basket up in that corner. Can't always most generally teil." Wonder what he's writing sucha long letter about? How ho's stariu' at poor Harry's pioture that Maudie cries over so rnucu, and now into the corners. I'm glad I thought of the spoons:" " Uh, he"s all right; deaf puople :ilways act kind o' lieer. You see thoy never can teil but what someboily's talking, or walking, or doingsomething they don't know about." "There! could Miss Mulloy beat that herself?" Jim look complacently at the shelves, all in perfect order, as olean and sweet as Maudie's hands could have made them. "Won't Maudie be glad, though?" and then Jim whistled, so that even the old gentleman seemed to have heanl it, and stared with a queor butnot unkindly glance at the two boys as he rose to go, saying he would not leave the noto after all, but would cali again when Mrs. Warner came back, asking particularly about the hour of her arrfval. One never could have guessed that the two handsotne lads who emerged f rom the house door at four o'clock on Wednesday afternoon had ever been concerned in the cleaning of the pretty little cottage. Presently they returned in triumph with Maudie, grandma and Aunt Nellie through the growittg twilight. Chris sprang up and lighted the laraps quickly in parlor, hall and kitchen. In the dining-room the tea-table was shining with clean china and snovvy cloth. On the glowing kitchen range a kettle was inging and rocking merrily, and the beds in the upper rooms were smoothly made. A big basket had arrived with the party, and Jim had taken it under his care to bring from the depot, and was now unpacking it. Ah! that home-made bread of grandraa's own makinjj, and the roll of golden butter, and tho slices of pitik ham, with parsley garnishioff, and the big turkoy stufl'ed and ready for the next day's honor, and the red apples rolling out here and there and everywhere. No wonder Jims arms aclied when he reached home with the basket, and no wonder Jim shouted when it disclosed sueh treasures. It did not take Maudie flve minutes to see and onjoy the order and cleanliness of lier little liome, and she gave the lads anew kiss of approval as she said between her trips to and fro, up and ilowu: "Boys, how did you ever come to think of getting Bridget in to clean it all, and how did you iind her?" Then the boys laughed, and looked at each other, and ran out of the room ia a hurry without answering. In a few moments Maudie was startled by a gruff voice in her ear. "There'3 me and Mary Flynn, mum." There were the workors in the queer old duds, Jim's merry dimples coming and going inside the old Bun-bonnet, and Chris' soft mustache looking so quecnly beneath the calicó hood. "Grandma! Xellit;! Were thero ever such boys as these to t hink. and plan, and feeí no sliarae in doing this to help me! The daxlingsP" And then Maulie langhed and cried; and coming eloser, kissed them softly, and whispered: "Heaven bles-; the luds!" Grandmamma laughed until the tears ran down her old choeks, and even pale Nellie flufhed with happiness, and asked for the pattern of the polonaise Jim wore; and then they all sat down to tea, where they did full justice to the chcer. But the adventures of the day were not ended, for thero was a ring at the door. and the expressman who brought Maudie's truoks had two othor hu-ge pareéis, directed to Mrs. Warner, of which she knew nothing. There they were, however, all done up in basrginsj and boxing, and were certainly iiHtiuled for her. A smaller package, directed to her, proved to have an inclosure in addition to the letter for herself, with the very remarkable superscription : TOB BRIDOET mnCXiOY AND MAHY FLYMN. or CHRIS. AND JIM. Kitchen Cabinet, (53 lïly street. The boys were full of wonder as they opened the queer letter, and a slip that looked lik e a check dropped on the floor. And this was the letter: "Andold competi latoly roturnod to hifi natlve land after an absence r rnany reara. be ing desirons of tindins: out for himself whether the ehildrcn oL nis f ivorite nephrw were worth his love, ;n.d oare, and heirship, retort ed to a Bomewnat novel way of tindin;? out. lieing1 by do means deaf, alter all, it dia not takc the oíd 'compete' wy Long to Loara ♦ ín Btraltened ofroumfttances thut made the Iri-h ma-i uerade a neuessity, or the true nobleness of soul that prompted "hri-. andjltn Ki thr-ir kiiidly work. Thai thiy in;iy h:ive the pleaaure ot putting soint'ttiiiiir in Houdle'a porte-momiaie, ho sends ïht; check to tluMii, and tho aooompanylngpaoka908 u-ested by their chat while watching" le-t ! should sten! the spoons. Old Comi'Kïk." The letter to Maudie ran thus: ' Mv DBAB Chimï- Throvii?b all the lont? years of ray Mfe in California I have rf memberfid a urirht-oyeil linio jfirt who catne to si t on 1 1 1 v knee longago, before I wandered otr from my Kiwteni tunne. ÏVrchancc you may never have heaid uf me, for in truth I ws do credit to my Prienda in thosc wild and wiUful dnys. Bince then i have progpercd exceeding ly, and learaea the betterwayof llfo. ClrcumBtancefl which I noel not speak have ex lied me from my adopted home, and mode mea coitlirmed bachelor. Alter umny j ouiö 0Í wanderinir to and fro I have oomo at last to lnnir for rost and hoinf, and a womiin's caro aml tcitileriu'ss over my few remaininji yoars. Thi' bouse you livo in hits been mine a nwtith nlrcivty. Neéd I teil yod ttial norentii.i.' vvüi ooxne to vku afain? ■' l-'or ilic two bids 1 tind myold hearf stirrintf Btrongly aml tendPrly; H'l re mherhow thrmi-'-ii all tiic (un oi tlir maguuerade I saw t maniy and chivalrous love tbat protnpted it. Somydear olillrlron tho 'UüOle out of a tmik' hus r':ill' come, witn p'lf enoufb ( briifhton all. May tna olii man Join jourvnnip tcmorrow, for be hu-; no hearthstoue, aml he lopgi for tho touub of kludriHl ( lea oooe inore. "John Travis." "Wetl, 1 declare!" "Did any body ever hear of such i thing!" Buoh were the exclamations on all sides. How thoy all laughed, and cried, and wondered if it were a dreara. Uut no, there was the check for iifty dollars, duly signed and sealed, there was the roll of protty carpet, and the red chair, and a green llowor-stand, and a bundie oí bulfis. Such a welcome as awaited Uncle John that bright Thanksgiving Day! Sueh a talking over of oíd times and recalling the stories that Chris, and Jim were quite too young to remember, of the wild young lad who ran away so long ago and was never hoard of more. Maudie knew that there had been such ■j. waif in the days of long ago, but it had beendecided years before that John Travis must have died, elso they should have heard of him. There was no lack of merry talk around that dinner table, and Grandtna Warner and Uncle John told old-time stoi-ies of the days when they were young. Maudie' s soft cyes were shining as she listened to Uncle John's remeinbrances of her husband's boyhood, while Chris, and Jim kept saying over - "Just like an uncle in a book." "Then there wore merry toasts proposed and drank in currant wine - toasts to "Miss Flynn," and "Mrs. Mulloy." When Chris, a little dubiously, proposed "the dcaf compele," it inot wiih a round of applause and shouts of laughter, in which Uncle John laughed longest and loudest. Maudie has hung up tho old hoods and garrnents in wnich tho boys were ciad lo do their kindly work, and touches i ln-iii with reverente. As she passes them, when! they hang in tht'. garrét dusk, she smooths thera over, and says softly, "the dcar lads! Hcaven bless thcm." The lads are hard students now, and will do credit to Uncle John and his open purse, I know. And By his open flre in winter, or in the honevsuckle porch in suraracr, sits Uncle John, drifting down quietly and happily to the Sunser Land and its waitin mansion, thankitlg Heaven each day tliat comes, for the tender love that keeps its faithful watchbeside hini, and for the Christian manhood growing stahvart with the years that brown Chris', golden curis and add to James: stature. And when the chair shall by and by be empty, thfire will be a kind remembranoe evermore for the sunny old man who carne to show how gold may bless and comfort, and whb wisely speut the gold for others' good.


Old News
Ann Arbor Democrat